NG aims to decide on Fokker 100 assembly line location by year-end

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NG Aircraft, the reincarnated Rekkof Restart that is bidding to return the Fokker 70/100 family to production, aims to decide where to locate the assembly line by year-end once the programme gets the green light in June.

The pacing item for the launch is approval from Brussels of a €20 million ($27 million) Dutch government loan, which is expected in June and should be "a formality", says NG executive Maarten Van Eeghen. Once cleared, NG will reveal the identity of the Fokker twinjet's new powerplant and set about preparing for the production programme, he adds.

Phase one of the programme, for which bulk of the required €90 million in funding has been sourced, calls for Fokker Aircraft Services to modify the Fokker 100 development aircraft to NG specification as a proof-of-concept demonstrator. This aircraft should fly by early 2012.

A total of €500 million will be needed to complete the planned second phase, which would see production reinstated by 2015.

Van Eeghen says that the June go ahead will clear the way to begin preparing the production plan. This is likely to involve suppliers of major build packages and negotiations are under way with potential partners, he adds. "We are going to be far leaner than the old Fokker - basically we are a supply chain management company."

The original Fokker 70/100 assembly line was located at the company's plant at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. Van Eeghen says that two sites in the Netherlands are being evaluated to house the new line - Lelystad near Amsterdam and Woensdrecht in the south of the country, where Fokker Aircraft Services has a plant. A decision should be made before year-end.

Van Eeghen says NG Aircraft aims to capture "a steady 12%" of the long-term market, which equates to around 50 aircraft annually, and predicts the revived twinjet "could easily" stay in production for at least 20 years.